By on November 21, 2017

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Building on a strategic partnership announced in August last year, Volvo has signed a framework agreement with Uber to sell “tens of thousands” of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

While reading the report, it was important for this author to keep in mind the challenge in affixing an actual definition to the words autonomous driving. There have been shouty voices in various parts of the internet disputing the terms autonomous, Autopilot, and self-driving. There is merit to these arguments.

Nevertheless, Volvo is working with Uber to create technology that will allow vehicles to move about without a driver providing input 100 percent of the time.

The non-exclusive agreement — and it is important to note the word non-exclusive – furthers the partnership between Volvo and Uber while also writing a new chapter in the convergence of car makers and tech companies. Or, if one doesn’t view it as a full chapter, it’s at least more than a simple footnote.

The base for these vehicles is being developed on Volvo’s modular Scalable Product Architecture, which was developed in-house by the engineering boffins at the Swedish company. It is currently used on Volvo’s top-of-the-line 90 series machines, such as the XC90 and gorgeous (but special-order only) V90. The new XC60 midsize SUV deploys this Scalable Product Architecture as well.

“Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Volvo Cars’ engineers have apparently worked with engineers from Uber to develop the XC90 premium SUVs that are planned to be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles incorporate safety, redundancy, and core autonomous (there’s that word again) driving technologies which are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology.

The relationship is not monogamous. At the same time as providing Uber with AD-compatible cars, Volvo will use the same base vehicle in the development of its own independent autonomous car strategy, which is planned to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous car (Volvo’s language) in 2021.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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3 Comments on “The Future Looks Swedish? Volvo Inks a Deal to Supply Uber’s Driverless Dreams...”

  • avatar

    The headline makes no sense. “The Future Looks Chinese” would have made more sense, given the fact that Volvo is a Chinese automaker.

    • 0 avatar

      Is this just a bit of malicious code that injects itself into TTAC whenever Volvo is mentioned?

      • 0 avatar

        For about a century, the people of Britain and Germany have been buying Fords, mistakenly believing they were actually native vehicles. Having lived there I know the average dolt on the street doesn’t know or care that actually Ford is American, so the people could have avoided buying them if they cared about the national identity of the true owners. GM did the same with Vaukhall and Opel till recently.

        I do not see the difference between this scenario and the Chinese ownership of Volvo. Is it only an OK business tactic if Americans do it, but an unforgiveable sin when someone else does it? Apparently so, say the knuckledraggers of “Murica. What about when that $1 billion Volvo factory opens in SC in 2019?

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